Rangers win seventh straight, earn spot in play-in game



WFAA Sports

Posted on September 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 29 at 9:21 PM

The Texas Rangers lived to see another day with a 6-2 win over the Angels Sunday afternoon at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Texas will host Tampa Bay Monday night in a play-in game for the final Wild Card spot in the American League. The Rangers and Rays finished in a tie with a record of 91-71.

To get there, Craig Gentry drove in two runs, stole two bases and scored a run in the Rangers’ seventh consecutive victory.

Gentry started the offensive attack when he hit a two-RBI single up the middle in the fifth inning to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

A.J. Pierzynski started the Rangers' fifth inning with a double off the left-center field wall, just out of the reach of Trout. Geovany Soto walked, and both catchers moved up 90 feet when Vargas threw a pick-off throw into center field.

What would be the decisive run came on a double to right-center field by Soto in the sixth inning that scored Adrian Beltre and gave Texas a 3-2 lead.

The Rangers recorded three straight two-out hits in the sixth before Soto’s RBI double. Beltre grabbed his hamstring as he crossed home on the play, but didn’t appear to be affected by the leg.

He crushed a solo home run two-thirds of the way up Greene’s Hill, matching Trout’s first-inning blast and giving the Rangers a 5-2 lead in the eighth. Soto added a second solo home run to score the sixth and final run for Texas.

Rangers’ starter Yu Darvish allowed two runs on just four hits while striking out eight batters, but was pulled after a two-out walk in the sixth inning. It was the third consecutive start in which Darvish failed to make it out of the sixth inning.

Trout launched a Darvish pitch halfway up Greene’s Hill in center field of Rangers Ballpark to give the Angels a 1-0 first inning advantage. The announced estimate of 421 feet was a conservative one on Trout’s blast.

After a one-out walk in the second inning, Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux made a mound visit with trainer Jamie Reed and translator Kenji Nimura. Darvish worked around the walk and a stolen base to get out of the second unscathed, and apparently okay physically.

The Rangers ace retired 11 consecutive Angels before Andrew Romine singled to lead off the sixth.

Darvish walked Mike Trout to put runners on first and second, and was pulled in favor of Neal Cotts, who faced Josh Hamilton in a lefty-lefty match-up. Hamilton singled to left field to tie the game.

But the Rangers bullpen was on lockdown the rest of the way.

Robbie Ross struck out two batters and threw a scoreless seventh inning despite a lead-off single.

Tanner Scheppers dealt the eighth inning, throwing just nine pitches. The Ranger setup man has thrown just 36 pitches over his last four outings combined.

Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation.

The first pitch of the play-in game in Arlington is slated for 7:07 p.m. Monday. The Rangers confirmed that Nelson Cruz will be active for Game No. 163 following his drug suspension.